Wednesday, December 4, 2019

W. Virgil Vandament, WWI Veteran and Boy Scout Leader


W. Virgil Vandament,  WWI  Private

1916 BTHS Sophmores
 Vandament was a member of this class
but is not identified in the photo
Willis Virgil Vandament was born in Lukin Township on October 17, 1898, to Wiley and Matilda Vandament.  As a child, he attended Franklin School in his neighborhood along with 68 other students, all taught by Marion E. Moore. Vandament was neither tardy nor absent during the 7-month school term of 1910.  August 19, 1914, he graduated from the 8th grade and received the Lindley scholarship for having the highest grade in his township on final examinations.  


President Wilson declared war on the Imperial German government April 7, 1917, starting American’s participation in World War I. Within a month, on May 2, 1917, as soon as the school term had ended, Vandament enlisted in the Army.  He had just finished his Junior year at BTHS. By August 1, 1917, Vandament was a private in the 3rd Infantry, stationed at Ft. Washington, Maryland.

Little is known of his actual army experiences, other than Vandament was classified as gunner first-class and that he received no wounds during battle.  New Year’s Day, 1919, he was discharged and on his way home.  On the fourteenth of January, he was welcomed back to Lawrence County and a week later was employed by Central Refinery.   By the end of January, he had enrolled in night school to complete his high school education.

Six months after his return, on Saturday evening, July 3, 1919, Vandament married Miss Ruth Dudley of Bridgeport. A daughter, Jane, was born in 1924, followed by a son, Harold, in 1927.

By 1924, the first Boy Scout Troop had been formed in Bridgeport.  By March of that same year, it was apparent that a second Boy Scout troop was needed as there were still several boys who wanted to join.  Vandament consented to accept the position of Scoutmaster of Troop 251, if Hallie Hamilton would assist him.  Vandament would remain active in Scouts for the next 50 years of his life. In 1944, thirty boys, who had all been in Troop 251, were in the armed forces fighting the Second World War.  Nine of them were Eagle Scouts that Vandament had mentored. 

Vandament was an active member in Post 62 of the American Legion in Bridgeport as well as being involved in the activities of the First United Methodist Church of Bridgeport. He found time to go to ball games in St Louis and he and Hallie Hamilton occasionally drove to Champaign to see the Illinois football games.   

In 1930, the Vandament family was renting a home in Denison Township, but by 1938, they had purchased a lot in Gray’s addition, Bridgeport and the house at 406 Griggs St. became the family home.  The couple had a very active social life, being mentioned in the hometown newspapers almost every week under the Bridgeport Social column.  One of their favorite activities was to play bridge with the Ruckers, Hamiltons, Ridgleys and Grays.

Vandament worked for the Marathon Pipeline for forty-three year before his retirement. He died September 17, 1973, at age 74, of a heart attack, and is buried in the Whitehouse Cemetery.

Ed Note:  Thanks to K Borden for research. 

Don't forget to call and order your fresh evergreen swags right now.  908-208-2372  Pick up will be Friday morning, afternoon or after 5:00 at the Research Library.  There will be also limited evergreen bundles for your decorating needs, first come, first serve on Friday. 

The Historical Society will be selling books, coasters of local scenes, and evergreen swags at the 4-H Craft Fair this Saturday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Civil War Supplies


Several Civil War soldiers were treated in the hospitals in Evansville, Indiana. A card of thanks was published from the Evansville mayor on March 17, 1862, in the Evansville Daily Journal.  

Particularly mentioned as being appreciated were packages containing supplies for the sick and wounded from the ladies of Russellville, Illinois. The mayor wanted it known that the railroad and the steamboat men would carry such articles free of charge, and the local city draymen would take pleasure in delivering the same to any of the hospitals. 

Don't forget to call and order your fresh evergreen swags right now.  908-208-2372  Pick up will be Friday morning, afternoon or after 5:00 at the Research Library.  There will be also limited evergreen bundles for your decorating needs, first come, first serve on Friday. 

The Historical Society will be selling books, coasters of local scenes, and evergreen swags at the 4-H Craft Fair this Saturday.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Stamping out Tuberculosis

Stamping out Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the early 20th century.  Doctors were treating this dreaded disease at special hospitals called sanitariums.  The sale of Christmas seals (stamps) began in 1907; in 1919, the double-barred cross appeared as a symbol for the National Tuberculosis Association.

The schools of Lawrence County did their part stamp out tuberculosis during the Depression. According to an article, Country School Notes,  in the Lawrence County News on December 10, 1931,  by E. C. Cunningham, the Seal Sale was sponsored by the schools in the county to help those with tuberculosis. 

During 1931,  $175.39 was spent for milk for undernourished children with tuberculosis in the county.   Cunningham mentioned that Elzie Pepple was a patient at St. John’s Sanitarium in Springfield and might have to be there for two years.  His expenses were around $50 per month.  The sale of Christmas seals was paying for that as well.   

Every time someone spent one cent for a Christmas seal, part of that amount stayed in the school district for the benefit of the children of that school.  Marian Rosborough, Lawrenceville teacher was the first city  teacher to sell her $5 worth of seals so her room was classified as a gold star room, and got to keep one dollar of the sales to be used in anyway she saw fit. Miss Anna Weller, 2nd grade teacher in Lawrenceville grade school, reported her pupils sold $10 worth of seals.

Mrs. Luella Benson, teacher of Valley School, was the first rural teacher to become a gold star school.  The second rural teacher to report was Ollie Poland, teacher of advanced grades at Petrolia.  Jennie Buchanan, teacher of the advanced room at Buchanan school, was the next teacher to report all her seals were sold.  Mildred Wise, teacher of White Hall school in Lukin Twp,  a very needy section of the county, sold only 25 cents worth of seals according to Cunningham.  

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Peach Orchards in 1931


August 27, 1931  Lawrence County News   Peach Orchards in Lawrence County in 1931

VanScyoc Orchards near Sumner. The newspaper reported that two railroad cars full of peaches were shipped on Saturday and one car on Sunday. Most of the other orchardists were delivering the fruit by highways, using trucks for large shipments and automobiles for small quantities.  The price ranged from 50c to $1.50 per bushel with the average about $1.00 for choice sprayed fruit. 

August 22, 1975
Dowell’s on Rt 1 north of Lawrenceville.  This was said to be one of the largest orchards in the county. The crop was estimated to be between 5000-8000 bushels. 

Stanley Stoltz’ Orchards about a mile north of Sumner.

Treadway Orchard near Billett.

V. C. BuchananOrchard just east of Lawrenceville. 

Severns Orchard near Sumner.

Gerhart Orchards near Birds.

Fritchey Orchards also near Birds.

Foster Orchard near Bridgeport.

Picking and sorting the peaches provided employment to many men and women during the depression years. The prevailing wage was $1.50 per day. 

For more interesting facts about fruit grown in Lawrence County please purchase the newest Historical Society’s book, Growing Aware, available at the History Center, the Research Library, Finishing Touch and on the website, lawrencelore.org. Also stop by the History Center, Sunday afternoon 1-4 or Monday 10-3 to see the newest exhibit about farming and farm life.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Immunization for Diphtheria

County School Notes by E. C. Cunningham Lawrence County News December 10, 1931 

Wm McCausland, Wm. Daniels and Elmer Thacker, members of the school board at Rich Valley, have immunized 29 subjects in the school district against diphtheria.  The teacher is Florence Rosborough who helped bring about the immunization in the district, she herself was immunized. 

These students  had perfect attendance at Gadd during the 1930 school year:  Dale Crawford, Mary Crawford, James Crews, Carl Davis, Margaret Davis, Helen Shepherd, Rosalie Winters.  There was not a single case of tardiness during the entire year.  James Crews has attended school for three years and has never been absent nor tardy.  Carl Davis has the same perfect record.  Gladys Morehead was the teacher last year.  Frances Morrison is the teacher in 1931. 

Fay Waldrop, 14, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Waldrop, Union 17 school, Allison, was accidentally shot while hunting last week after which he was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital, Vincennes, for treatment.  After Cunningham visited at Waldrop's school, he drove to the hospital to see Waldrop. He found that Waldrop was resting well and recuperating. The bullet went through one of his lungs, struck a rib, around which it went to the back where it lodged.  When asked how it felt when the bullet struck him, Waldrop replied that it made him quiver.  He was not keen for any more such experiences and would be more careful about hunting with company in the future.

Sand Ridge immunizes.  Lionel Gray, V. C. Buchanan and L. B. Piper, members of the board of directors in Sand Ridge school district have completed immunization of 58 pupils and others in the district. The work was done just in time to prevent an epidemic in the district because one pupil, Joseph Gray, son of Mr. and Mrs. Otis Gray, was ill when the first shot was taken.  When he went home it was discovered, after a doctor had been called, that he had diphtheria, but his case was mild due to the fact that he was immunized.  Leslie Brian is the teacher of the upper school while Frances Osborn, who was one to be immunized, is the teacher of the lower school.

Perfect attendance at Russellville, Fred Miller, the teacher at Russellville school, reports that there are 38 pupils in his school who were neither absent nor tardy for the month of November.

Mrs. Luella Benson, the teacher of Valley school, reports that her directors, Roy Cullison, Carl V. Lewis and Harley Ridgley have provided immunization for the school.  30 children were immunized while 27 took the Schick test which proved that they were immune. 

Alice Wilber, daughter of Mr. and Mr. P. A. Wilber, passed away November 28, 1931, after a lingering illness covering fifteen years during which time, she was a patient suffering from inflammatory rheumatism. She was an invalid for years.  Miss Wilber was a school teacher years ago; she was never strong physically.  She taught two years in this county. 

Brick school closed two weeks because C. G. Benson, the teacher there, had tonsillitis.  His case was so bad that it was necessary for him to have both his tonsils lanced. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Clyde Smith, Professional Athlete


The Clyde Smith Manor on Jefferson Street in Lawrenceville is named for long time Lawrence County resident, Clyde W. Smith.  But other than a man serving Lawrence County in various positions, who was Clyde Smith?

He was born in 1904 in Steelville, MO to Henry W. and Perrigue Smith. After becoming a first-rate center on his high school, he was recruited to play football at the University of Missouri.  There he became a team leader and was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference team.  Some news records also state he was named to the All-American team.

Smith led the team in their post-season game against the University of Southern California Trojans in 1924.

After graduating, Smith played three years of professional football with the Kansas City Cowboys, the Cleveland Bulldogs, and the 1928 National Football League Champion team in Providence, RI.  His brothers, Glenn and Raymond, continued the family tradition of being Center on the University of Missouri.

Clyde Smith came to Lawrence County, IL, as football coach for the Bridgeport Bulldogs, a post which he held for a few years.  He married Evlyn Neal, whose family owned Lawrenceville Greenhouses.  Smith was Chairman of the Lawrence County Housing Authority and also served on the Lawrence County Fair Board.  Clyde never missed local football and basketball games in Lawrence County.

He died in 1982 and is buried in the Lawrenceville City Cemetery.  He was one of only a few professional athletes to have lived in Lawrence County.

Ed Note:  Thanks to D Sherer for the above.

The Society will once again be offering fresh evergreen “Berries and Boughs” swags for home decorating needs for the holidays. Made locally by Society members, these fresh boughs of local pine and cedar are accented with bunches of fresh holly berries.  A large all-weather red velvet bow adds the finishing touch.  Approximate size is 24 inches long by 18 inches wide.  The cost is $15.00 each.  

They will be available December 6, 2019.
Orders can be made now by calling 908-208-2372 or 618-240-2021 or personally at the History Center on Mondays 10am-3pm and at the Research Library on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings 9-12.  

Call and get your order in NOW.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The History of Chauncey by Mrs. Gertrude Phillips Part Two


A continuation of an article found in the Sumner Press, December 3, 1963 describing the history of Chauncey as presented by Mrs. Gertrude Phillips at a Chauncey PTA meeting. 

When Chauncey was laid out in lots, it was quite a problem to find a name. The surveyor was Peter Smith.  Mr. Benefiel from Lawrenceville, Illinois, told the story that several of the leading men of the community wanted it named after themselves, such as Munnville, Brownstown, Wattsville.  To break the deadlock, Peter Smith suggested they name it after Mr. Brown’s newly born son. His first name was Edward, which suggested Edwardsville. That wouldn’t do because there was already a town by that name in Illinois.  So, the baby’s middle name, Chauncey was chosen for the name of the new town. The baby grew up to become the father of Freeman and Raymond Brown who now live northeast of Chauncey.

The little village flourished. The M. E. people organized and had a church by 1858.  Later they sold their first building to the Christian Church and built their present building. The Christian Church stood just west of the present Methodist church.

The brick school was built in 1872. Wagons were manufactured in Chauncey.  Early blacksmiths were John Bache and Jim Rodrick.  A Mr. Hughes made cradles for wheat harvesting and also made coffins.  Luther Watts was a merchant in 1860.  Daniels & Waggoner Grocery was here in 1866.  Dan Patton had a drug store in 1879.  In 1873, the Chauncey Post Office was established. The first doctors were Dr. Smith and Dr. Murphy. 

Mr. Sam Legg then talked to the group and told many of his early recollections.  He came to the Chauncey vicinity in 1872, and although he was very young, he remembers the construction of the brick schoolhouse.  He commented at length on the excellent school that Chauncey had in those days. The teacher was the best paid in the county.  Children from other districts, especially the older boys, came to Chauncey because of the better training offered.

Legg told that once there was a post office in the Pasturefield neighborhood, and that Concord became Landes because a man by that name helped them get their post office.  Also, Chauncey had a rural route at one time.

Legg also recalled the Berkshire store, and told about the public scales in Chauncey where stock was weighed before they were driven to Sumner in enormous droves to be shipped. 

The fine expressiveness and the flawless English of Mr. Legg bore excellent testimony to the quality of the school at Chauncey in the 1870s.  He concluded his remarks and delighted the children by saying his ABCs backwards as he had learned them in school so long ago.

Mrs.  Lotta Doss displayed an embroidered coverlet that had been made at her mother’s suggestion to help defray the expenses of the M. E. Parsonage when it was built.  About 450 people made a contribution to get their names embroidered on the coverlet.  Mrs. Doss prepared an alphabetical list so these names of relatives could be found easily.  She had a fine collection of pictures of the horse and buggy days, early Chauncey buildings, some no longer standing and school pictures.  Probably Chauncey has a better pictorial record than most villages because of the Correll’s hobby of taking pictures. 

Mrs. Wanda Devonshire displayed a friendship quilt belonging to her husband’s grandmother, Mrs. Stephen Bache.  Names of people who were her friends in those long-ago days were embroidered on the blocks.

Henry Goodman’s musket that he carried in Sherman’s March to the Sea was of great interest especially to the small boys.

Dale Waggoner showed a ruffling iron that was a curiosity to all.

The oldest school picture exhibited was one where Frank Mushrush was the teacher and William Berkshire was the little boy who held up the slate with the name of the school.

The people who live in Chauncey now are almost entirely the descendants of the early settlers.  When school opened last fall, twenty- four descendants of John Northup Paddick and Eliza Shaw Paddick enrolled in Chauncey school.  Some are seventh generation descendants. Others were descendants of the Rodericks, Baches, Berkshires, Stouts, Goodmans, Waggoners, Pattons, and other early settlers. 

Ed Note:  If any reader has photographs of Chauncey, the Historical Society would love to scan them.